The dynamics of two-session interviews with suspected victims of abuse who are reluctant to make allegations.
Supportive forensic interviews conducted in accordance with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Revised Protocol (RP) help many alleged victims describe abusive experiences. When children remain reluctant to make allegations, the RP guides interviewers to (a) focus on rapport building and nonsuggestive support in a first interview, and (b) plan a second interview to allow continued rapport building before exploring for possible abuse. We explored the dynamics of such two-session RP interviews. Of 204 children who remained reluctant in an initial interview, we focused on 104 who made allegations when re-interviewed a few days later. A structural equation model revealed that interviewer support during the first session predicted children's cooperation during the rapport-building phase of the second session, which, in turn, predicted more spontaneous allegations, which were associated with the interviewers' enhanced use of open-ended questions. Together, these factors mediated the effects of support on children's free recall of forensically important information. This highlighted the importance of emphasizing rapport with reluctant children, confirming that some children may need more time to build rapport even with supportive interviewers.
Jacobs Foundation (2012-1024)
Haruv Institute (unknown)